SAN DIEGO – The Foundation for Women, a San Diego-based non-profit working to end poverty through microfinance, has received funding for it's Liberian microcredit finance programs from the World Bank.
At 6am this morning, I had a conversation with our FFW Liberia COO David Beyan with tremendous news. After working with the World Bank and the Central Bank of Liberia forever it seems, yesterday funding to expand our microcredit portfolio was deposited into our account. Today there was a special program in recognition of this post-Ebola support and Foundation for Women Liberia was the star!! In David’s own words:
A really exciting day for the Foundation! The MSME Launch by the Government of Liberia was well attended and showcased. Government ministers, World Bank Officials, Bank Executives, MFIs were all in attendance.
It was an eye opener to see our 12 women sparklingly dressed in FFWL T-shirts. On the high table were a handful of bank, world bank, govt. executives. On the table reserved for experts to lecture on micro-finance, we recommended one of our market women, Josephine Noimeni. That turned out to be the talk of the launch. She lay out how her life has been transformed, thanks to FFWL. She made the case for more help to micro-finance.
I was the lone MFI on the panel and was asked to speak on behalf of all the MFIs. I talked about our ten years in the business, the challenges faced and then challenged the stakeholders to do more to help the MFIS. There was a long applause when I asked the banking institution to get into an agreement with us whereby we can recommend some of our credible clients who have gone beyond our credit limit for loans at the banks. The banks were opened to further discussion on this.
People often ask me how and why Liberia? I answer that question like I have always answered any question about the birth of the Foundation for Women – “God had a good idea and I was blessed to hear it!” Also, we were working in Niger in 2006 just as the first female president of an African country was being inaugurated in Liberia. I was determined to help her and the women of Liberia, but had no idea how… One month later in February 2006, I received a letter from a Liberian woman who was living in Temecula. She wanted to come and see me as she was returning home and wanted to do in her country what FFW was doing elsewhere. Would I help her? Will you help me? A partnership in place, we both landed in Liberia in December 2006 and the Foundation for Women Liberia was birthed.
As David said today, it has been an adventure – many challenges including Ebola – but not once did I or we as an organization question our commitment to the people and country of Liberia. And today we were acknowledged for that commitment in a really fabulous way! Thank you for believing. Thank you for caring. Thank you for supporting. Together WE are making a tremendous difference in an entire country.
The Foundation for Women brought its proven microfinance program to Liberia in 2007. It continues to help women establish small businesses and also provides microfinance capital to low-fee, independent schools throughout Liberia, impacting more than 20,000 children.